8:00pm – Thursday, September 17 on ABC1
When does breeding dogs to win show prizes become an animal welfare issue? A recent BBC documentary shown on ABCTV, Pedigree Dogs Exposed, has fuelled a heated debate in the UK. Animal welfare interests and breeders of show dogs are pitted against each other as they argue over how much in-breeding is appropriate for pedigree dogs. Following up on the controversial BBC documentary, Dr Jonica Newby investigates some Australian pedigree dogs.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are just gorgeous, their appealing looks and good nature make them perfect pets for young children. Prize-winning Cavaliers (in the UK) are bred to have cute little heads, to satisfy the judging criteria laid down by the famous Kennel Club of the United Kingdom. But they can have significant health problems. For some, their scull is too small to house their brain and the resultant pressure causes involuntary movements and excruciating pain. A qualified veterinary doctor, Jonica Newby gives the Australian Cavaliers and some other pedigrees a bit of a health check Imaginary Friend It is estimated that 65% of children will have an imaginary friend in the first 8 years of their life and for many parents it can be quite alarming – if not frightening – to discover their child’s latest best friend is merely a figment of their imagination. But, imaginary friends are not the unhealthy individuals they’re often thought to be – quite the opposite in fact.
Developmental psychologists have been looking into the benefits of having imaginary friends and they’ve found that children with virtual buddies have more developed language skills, and perhaps an earlier development of a ‘theory of mind’. Dr Graham Phillips caught up with a researcher who is discovering that, for children at least, the benefits of exercising a vivid imagination can be very real.
Dugongs Despite being a protected species little is known about the enchanting dugong.
It’s feared the impact of fishing and loss of habitat could be pushing them to the brink of extinction. To better understand them and secure their future, marine biologists in Queensland are carrying out extensive research into the dugongs’ behaviour and breeding patterns. Surfing scientist, Ruben Meerman dives in to lend a hand.
Catalyst will be repeated on ABC2 Friday, September 18 at 5:30pm